The Fitbit Charge 4 is a bracelet style activity tracker with built-in GPS. It is arguably the best value for money Fitbit that you can buy right now.
The Polar Unite is essentially a dumbed-down version of the Polar Ignite. It has all of the main features that you would expect from a Polar Sports Watch, except a GPS tracker. While some people might be fine with this setup, runners and cyclists should pay attention. If you opt for the Polar Unite, you will have to take your phone with you on every ride or run that you would like to track accurately.
Now that we’ve established a basic overview of these watches, let’s dive into the details.
Key Similarities - Polar Unite vs Fitbit Charge 4
Fitbit Charge 4
Key Differences - Polar Unite vs Fitbit Charge 4
Fitbit Charge 4
Explanation of Main Differences
- Built-In GPS: The Fitbit Charge 4 has a built-in GPS, whereas the Polar Unite does not. This is a big win for the Fitbit unit.
- Sports Modes – The Polar Unite support over 100 sports modes. The Fitbit Charge 4 only supports 16 sports modes.
- Screen Shape & Size – The Polar Unite has round 240 x 204 pixel screen. The Charge 4 has a rectangular 160 x 100 pixel screen.
- Battery Life – The smartwatch battery life of the Charge 4 (7 days) is almost double the smartwatch battery of the Polar Unite (4 days).
- Watch Style – The Polar Unite has a classical watch face design with a round face. The Fitbit Charge 4 is effectively a bracelet with activity tracking features.
- Optical Heart Rate Monitor – Polar’s precision prime wrist-based HRM is about as good as it gets. The Fitbit Charge 4’s heart rate monitor is okay, but not quite as accomplished as the Unite.
Polar Unite Sports Modes
|Aerobics||Aqua fitness||Backcountry skiing||Badminton|
|Beach volley||Biathlon||Body Mind Yoga||Bootcamp|
|Boxing||Canoeing||Circuit training||Classic roller skiing|
|Classic XC skiing||Climbing Indoor||Core Yoga||Cricket|
|Downhill skiing||Disc Golf||Backcountry Skiing||Downhill Skiing|
|Field hockey||Finnish baseball||Fitness dancing||Fitness martial arts|
|Floorball||Football||Freestyle roller skiing||Freestyle XC skiing|
|Functional training||Futsal||Golf||Group exercise|
|Ice hockey||Ice skating||Indoor cycling||Indoor rowing|
|Les Mills Modes||Mobility (dynamic)||Mobility (static)||Modern dancing|
|Mountain biking||Nordic walking||Orienteering||Other indoor|
|Other outdoor||Pilates||Riding||Road cycling|
|Road running||Roller skating||Rowing||Rugby|
|Ski orienteering||Skiing||Snowboarding||Snowshoe trekking|
|Street Dancing||Strength Training||Stretching||Surfing|
|Swimming||Table Tennis||Telemark Skiing||Tennis|
|Track & Field||Trail Running||Treadmill Running||Trotting|
|Water Skiing||Wheelchair Racing||Windsurfing||Yoga|
Fitbit Charge 4 Sports Modes
Main Reasons To Choose The Polar Unite
100 Extra Sports Modes
This is by far the biggest advantage that the Polar Unite has over the Fitbit Charge 4. Where the Charge 4 is limited to 16 sports modes, the Polar Unite literally has more than 100.
Ultimately, if you play lots of different sports, it’s hard to look past the value offering of the Polar Unite. In the $150 price point, you simply won’t find a watch with more sports modes to choose from (unless you choose a lower priced Polar like the M430 or M200).
Better Optical Heart Rate Monitor
Optical heart rate monitoring is another area where Polar shines. The combination of 8 optical readers and skin contact measurement points gives the Polar Unite the best possible chance of giving you an accurate measurement from the wrist.
Obviously optical hrm’s will never compete with a chest strap, but if you are going to rely primarily on the wrist measurements, Polar’s precision prime technology is about as good as it gets.
Much Larger Screen
The Polar Unite has a much larger 240 x 204 pixel screen. This is considerably bigger than the 160 x 100 pixel screen found on the Fitbit Charge 4.
Ultimately, you will find it easier to consume information displayed on the Polar Ignite screen. You should also be able to view more data fields when exercising, something runners and cyclists tend be pretty passionate about.
Main Reasons To Choose The Fitbit Charge 4
The Fitbit Charge 4 is the first mid-range Fitbit to introduce built-in GPS technology. This is excellent news for Fitbit fans. The lack of GPS has always been the Achilles heel of Fitbit’s product line-up, and now they are finally starting to fix that.
The main benefit here is that you don’t need to take your phone when you go running or cycling. This makes outdoor endurance exercises infinitely more convenient.
Ironically, Polar have removed the built-in GPS from the Polar Unite, presumably to keep the costs under control (and prevent it from competing with the Polar Ignite). From our perspective, this was a regrettable decision. By removing this key element, the overall functionality and desirability of the Polar Unite has been diminished.
The Charge 4 Has A Decent Number of Sports Modes
Admittedly the Fitbit Charge 4 can’t compete with the Polar Unite in terms of the total number of sports modes. However, it still has an adequate number of activity modes to choose from, including running, cycling, yoga, cardio and weight training. In other words, there are enough modes to cater to the needs of most casual sports people and fitness enthusiasts.
Some People Might Prefer The Bracelet Style
The Polar Unite has a traditional watch shape which should suit most men and women.
The Fitbit Charge 4 continues the bracelet style that the Charge line-up has become famous for. Ultimately, if you prefer the bracelet style of the Charge 4, it should be pretty easy for you to choose between these two units.
It's The Best Value Fitbit You Can Buy
The Charge 4 might not have the high res screen of the Fitbit Versa, but the decision to include the GPS in the product means that it is technically the more accomplished sports watch.
When you consider the relatively affordable price bracket, it’s easy to conclude that the Charge 4 is the best value for money Fitbit that you can buy right now. The price-to-value ratio is literally as good as it gets from Fitbit.
We’ve run through all the key similarities and all the key differences between the Polar Unite and the Fitbit Charge 4. If you’re still undecided at this point, these final buying tips may help.
Go for the Polar Unite if:
- You don’t mind taking your phone with you when running or cycling outdoors
- You play loads of different sports
- You want a better quality wrist-based heart rate monitor
- You want access to the Polar Flow training platform (excellent training information)
Go for the Fitbit Charge 4 if:
- You want a built-in GPS, which makes tracking running and cycling much more convenient
- You prefer the bracelet style design of the watch
- You don’t mind the smaller screen size
- You want to control music playing on your phone using your watch (rather than the phone screen)
- You want a good value for money fitness tracker than can track all the most popular activites (running, cycling, cardio workouts, weight training, yoga and more)